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Waste management

Dalhousie aims to reduce and divert solid, liquid, and hazardous waste from landfills.


At Dalhousie organic material and garbage are collected by custodians from the designated four-bin systems found in hallways and meeting rooms. Learn how organic and garbage waste are managed on campus and the types of materials that are acceptable for each waste stream.

In Halifax, organic material is picked up at the building by grounds staff (every day or two depending on volume), brought to the warehouse, sorted to remove contaminants, and the remaining material is repacked into green carts. Material is collected by REGroup trucked to Ragged Lake compost facility (HRM composting facility) 15 km from the university. Landscape waste is picked up by a commercial hauler (a couple of times a season) for composting.

On the Agricultural Campus in Truro, compost is trucked to the Colchester Composting Facility, roughly 20 km from campus, and landscape waste and manure are composted for use on agricultural fields.  

On both campuses, vegetable oil is picked up by a commercial hauler (every two to three months). The used oil is used to make animal feed and soap.

Organic waste includes:

  • all food waste
  • kitchen paper towels and food napkins
  • paper bags and plates
  • small amounts of landscape waste
  • paper fast-food wrapping
  • wax paper
  • compostable bowls


Agricultural Campus-only:

  • soil, biomass ash, plant waste and manure
  • bathroom paper towel
  • compostable coffee cups


Unacceptable materials:

  • Coffee cups and drink trays

  • Corrugated cardboard

  • Newspapers and magazines

  • Plastic or biodegradable bags

Note:  Bathroom paper towel and compostable coffee cups and bowls are accepted at the Colchester facility. Compostable bowls are only acceptable in Halifax, not bathroom paper towel and compostable coffee cups.

Construction and demolition

Dalhousie diverts more than 75% of Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste. There are mixed construction, demolition, and metal bins in select locations on campus.  

For small internal jobs, staff coordinates materials for a local hauler to bring to the local construction and demolition recycling site.

For larger jobs, external contractors are required to meet the 75% diversion outlined by HRM and for LEED projects. Construction and demolition material is often source-separated further to ensure recycling efforts go beyond standard practice.  

Construction and demolition waste includes:

  • asphalt/brick/concrete
  • clean shingles/gravel roofing
  • clean and painted wood
  • vinyl/plastic
  • glass
  • insulation
  • drywall and ceiling tiles
  • scrap metal


Hazardous Waste

The university has a comprehensive hazardous waste management program. Email for annual reports of all classes of hazardous waste by tonnage.

Hazardous waste includes:

  • Class 1: Explosives
  • Class 2: Gases
  • Class 3: Flammable and Combustible Liquids
  • Class 4: Flammable Solids
  • Class 5: Oxidizing Substances; Organic Peroxides
  • Class 6: Poisonous (Toxic) and Infectious
  • Class 7: Radioactive Material
  • Class 8: Corrosives

For more details on on-campus hazardous waste programs, contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office.  

For off-campus guidance on hazardous waste consult with the HRM Hazardous Waste Depot or Colchester County Hazardous Depot.

Universal Waste

Universal waste is a waste stream that contains materials that are not designated hazardous but do contain enough hazardous materials that they require special disposal.  

Dalhousie aims to divert all university universal waste from the landfill. Waste audits, weight data, and staff observations are used to track performance.

Review the universal waste categories below for specific instructions on how to dispose of it on campus.  

For more information on disposal of universal waste not found on this page, contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office at (902)-494-8396 (Halifax) or 902-893-4630 (Truro).


All batteries on campus should be recycled. For most batteries, academic departments, units, and reception desks on all campuses can request a collection box and poster [PDF - 456KB] from the mailroom for your departmental area. Battery collection boxes should be displayed in visible locations as determined by the department.  

To set up a collection box in your department call 902-494-3476 (Halifax) or 902-893-4614 (Truro).

It is important to note that:

  • Batteries (not including automotive/wet cell) can be recycled by depositing them in the box.
  • For safety reasons, some batteries must be taped at the terminal, and/or bagged.
  • Charts with specific battery information will be present at all box locations.
  • Bags are provided with the box, tape is not.
  • Dalhousie-issued employee mobile phones will not be accepted as they must go to ITS to be wiped for re-issue or recycling.
  • Student/personal mobile phones can be placed in a bag and then boxed at all Dalhousie Library location battery boxes.

Once the box is full (no more than 30 kg), administrators can arrange for collection through Facilities Management by submitting a FAMIS service request. The content of the boxes will be recycled by Call2Recycle.

All batteries not included in the battery box program and used in labs or facilities operations must be recycled through the hazardous waste program or local enviro-depot operations.

Florescent bulbs/lamps and mercury-containing equipment

At Dalhousie, fluorescent light bulbs and lamps are handled and recycled by Facilities Management and/or external contractors. Presently, all bulbs on campus are collected and sent to Dan-X for recycling through an Efficiency NS program. The university has bulb crushers in all zones.

For equipment containing mercury such as thermostats, thermometers, or barometers, please contact the Environmental, Health and Safety office where material will be properly managed through the Hazardous Waste program.


As part of Nova Scotia's Solid Waste Resource Management Regulations, paint is banned from disposal in provincial landfills.  
When consumers purchase paint, they pay a recycling fee to support the costs of collecting and processing unused paint. Leftover paint should be returned to a ENVIRO-DEPOT facility.

Printer cartridges

On-Campus, Dalhousie printer cartridges are to be returned to the supplier. Please contact your office supplier for more details. 

If you need any further recycling support, contact your campus mailroom at (902) 494-3476 (Halifax) or (902) ) 893-4614 (Truro). 

White goods (appliances)

Material goes to the landfill where large items are designated for metal recycling. For items such as refrigerators, refrigerants will be removed first.

Submit a Facilities Management request to have white goods removed for disposal


In Halifax, waste is brought to the warehouse for compaction versus using dumpsters. A local hauler collects the compacted waste and brings the material to the landfill in HRM at Otter Lake Landfill (municipal landfill), 30 km away. At the Agricultural Campus in Truro, the Colchester Balefill is approximately 20 km away.

Waste materials:

  • coffee cups
  • aerosol cans
  • floor sweepings
  • broken glass (see below)
  • disposable gloves
  • ceramics
  • potato chip bags and candy wrappers

How to dispose of broken glass:

  • Package broken glass and similarly sharp refuse in a sturdy, puncture-resistant container.

  • Seal the container and label it "Non-contaminated sharp material.” 

  • Place for disposal along with normal building garbage.

Unacceptable materials:

  • Organics (see above)

  • Recyclables, including paper and cardboard [Reduce, Reuse, Recycle page]

  • Construction and demolition waste [Construction and Demolition page]

Office of Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability strives to engage and encourage students, staff, and faculty in practicing sustainable behaviour.

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